Did Postman’s Words Hold Up?

On March 28th, 1998, Neil Postman delivered an address about technology and society. He pointed out a few key ideas (five to be specific) and spoke freely within his means. As I read this transcript, I began to wonder how his thoughts compared to society and technology today.

His first idea states that while we might gain a lot from a new technology, there are multiple disadvantages as well. He cited the Internet bringing a wealth of knowledge, but tarnishing a community/communication. In today’s world, depending on who you ask, this could be deemed very true. There is a growing population of people exposed to the Internet at a young age who fall prey to net-speak and never truly learn proper communication. I agree with the implication that our communities are suffering due to some people’s unhealthy addiction to the net.

One of my favorite thoughts he had was the idea that new technologies bring out new cultural ideas. Knowledge has become a valuable asset in today’s world thanks to the modern computer. However, he says that “…wisdom might vanish altogether.” I wonder, did he mean that people will lose a deeper understanding of the world and the information they gather by these means? The way I see it, this could be implied by the vast amount of news we have on social networks. Heck, the vast amount of social networking sites containing all these thoughts to begin with are proof enough that wisdom is disappearing in the world.

Wow, this sudden realization is shuddering.

Is it truly better to have a quality of information? Or a quantity? It seems we are being conditioned for the latter. It’s the more you know; not the level of what you know.

In a sense, I suppose Postman had his head on straight about technology and society in general. His abstractions on the world around him have proven to hold up and…make me somewhat apathetic about the future ahead.

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